The Beginning – Day One of the Mediterranean Vacation

Wednesday, May 23rd  

Well, after weeks of stressing over what to wear, what to bring, what to do, the day arrives.  Brighid is at school for her last normal day (her first day back is the start of final exams), the bags are packed (okay, they are over packed, but I NEED all of this stuff!!), and Jim takes me to JC Penney’s for a last minute pick up of   a few things (I got a nice light jacket, a small black purse, and a micro-umbrella).  We take the baby to the diner for lunch, then I go home to finish all the final arrangements while Jim goes to get the girls at school.

When Jim is back, having stopped at WalMart for my peanut butter crackers, we start loading up the car.  Brighid goes to get changed and pulls together her backpack with the books and notes she brought home from school.  I find out the peanut butter crackers they bought are cheese crackers.  I hate cheese crackers.  We have to stop at WalMart before we get to the airport.

So, on the road, quick stop to exchange crackers, and off to Southwest at Philly International.  I forgot to mention that Eilis has recently been diagnosed with a UTI – urinary tract infection – so, even though she has JUST GONE to the bathroom no, really, JUST GONE minutes before we walked out of the house – she urgently has to go half way to the airport.  I am stressing over the trip, the luggage, leaving Jim and the two little ones behind, and now I am worried Eilis is going to have an accident.  Jim can’t see the signs too well, and I see them but misinterpret them incorrectly.  He has a much better sense of direction, and he recognizes my interpretation and gently corrects me as I explain what I believe the proper directions should be.  Yeah.  Before we stop the car in the middle of four lanes of airport traffic and beat each other to bloody pulps, we find the spot to pull off and park, and Brighid runs like the wind inside the airport with Eilis to go to the bathroom.  They are back minutes later, and we are loading ourselves up with the luggage and heading in to check in.

We already have boarding passes, so we just have to check our bags and head to the gate.  Or so I think.  The weight limit on luggage with British Airways is – until August – 70 pounds per piece.  This is very important.  I have been given every instruction about how many bags I can bring, how much they can weigh, how many carry on bags I can have, what dimensions they can be – all the good stuff travelers need to know.  Unfortunately, I don’t get on the British Airways flight until TOMORROW.  Southwest is unsympathetic to the fact that I am going to be gone for a very long time and had to cram in so many clothes in so few bags, and they find my large suitcase is over their weight limit.  By 8 pounds.  Story of my life – too fat 🙁     So the lady says I can take some stuff out of my large bag and put it in the small one or pay the fine.  I look at my bursting at the seams small bag and contemplate moving a bunch of stuff to the already too heavy carry on bag I am carrying, and Jim, ever the impatient type, asks the lady how much the fine is and then hands over his credit card.  So, $25 later, I am through the check in process, kissing my kids and my husband goodbye, walking away with tears in my eyes, and leaving them behind. 

Lesson learned – being fat is a bad thing.  Even if you are luggage.

It is about this time, sitting in the airport, having had no dinner, that I decide to reach for a pack of peanut butter crackers.  Brighid, where are the peanut butter crackers?   I gave them to you.  No, you didn’t.  Yes, I did.  Brighid, you didn’t give me the crackers.  Okay, then they are in the car.  No peanut butter crackers 🙁

We are on the plane, and all is clear for take-off.  I don’t mind flying Southwest.  I’m not a frequent flyer anywhere, but the few times I’ve flown, we’ve taken off on time, landed early, and been treated well.  This time is no different, and we are on the ground about 15 minutes ahead of schedule.  Brighid calls her grandparents, who are on their way to the airport, and we head to baggage claim.

We have bags in hand, and we head outside.  Russell is wandering around, looking for us.  We get to the car to find out that for leaving his car parked in a no parking zone, Russell has gotten a ticket for $30.  And that was with Dot in the car!  

Shortly after leaving the airport, they ask if we’ve forgotten anything.  I rack my brain and discover that I probably forgot 40 things, but it’s too late now, my bags are fat.  But apparently, my dear husband has phoned ahead of our arrival and explained my peanut butter cracker dilemma.  They have come to the rescue and picked up peanut butter crackers!

Back at the house, we go through the paper work with our plane tickets and our excursion info; we add a few things to the carry on bag; we have a bedtime snack; and then I am in bed about midnight.  I’m too excited to sleep, and Brighid has Good Morning Vietnam playing.  She starts snoring, so I shut it off and I finally go to sleep.

Fondest Memories of Day One –

Even in a size 10 jeans, obesity still plagues me.  I’ve only transferred my bad habits to luggage.

Poor Russell – I cannot believe he got a parking ticket.

Peanut Butter crackers – who thought they were so elusive?